MANILA - A Filipino fisherman in Infanta, Pangasinan said Wednesday he took offense at President Rodrigo Duterte's recent clarification that his 2016 campaign statement of riding a jet ski and challenging Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea was just a joke.
"Kaming mga mangingisda dito, masama ang loob namin. Ba't gano'n lang, joke joke lang 'yong sinabi niya sa akin noon?" Carlo Montehermozo told TeleRadyo.
(The fishermen here are angry that what he said to me was just a joke.)
"Joke joke lang din siya naging presidente natin," he later added.
(He's also a joke of a President.)
It was Montehermozo who asked Duterte and other presidential candidates during a televised debate in 2016 on what they could do for fishermen like him to peacefully fish in the country's territorial waters without being driven away by the Chinese Coast Guard in the disputed South China Sea.
Montehermozo, among 16 million people who voted for Duterte in the last presidential elections, said he felt deceived by the President's pledge five years ago.
"Kahit 'yong hindi nakakapunta ng Scarborough [Shoal], kahit 'yong hindi pa nakarating, sinasabi sa'kin na, 'Wala na. Nag-uulyanin na talaga 'yong Presidente natin,'" he said.
(Even those who haven't been to Scarborough Shoal, they told me, "Our President seems to have become forgetful.")
"Nagpangako siya ng gano'n tapos hindi niya tinupad," he added.
(He made a promise but broke it.)
Montehermozo also slammed the President for calling those who believed in him back then as "stupid."
"Hindi akong istupidong tao," he said.
(I'm not stupid.)
In the upcoming 2022 elections, Montehermozo said Filipinos must choose their leaders wisely.
"Pag-isipan na lang mabuti kung sino talaga 'yong makakatulong talaga sa atin, sa ating mga kababayan," he said.
(Think wisely on who could help us, our fellow countrymen.)
Asked if he would vote for another member of the Duterte family if they seek the presidency, he said this: "Iba nalang siguro. Ibang presidente nalang. 'Pag Duterte naman, gano'n lang din. Kung ano ang puno, [siya ang] bunga ng mangga."
(Maybe just someone else. Another president. If it's another Duterte, it's just going to be the same. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)
In his regular public address Monday, Duterte said his 2016 campaign statement to ride a jet ski to challenge Chinese incursions in Philippine waters within the South China Sea was a "pure campaign joke" and that those believed it were "stupid."
"Panahon sa kampanya ‘yan, at saka iyong biro na ‘yon, we call it bravado," the President said of his remarks 5 years ago.
"Iyong bravado ko was a pure campaign joke, at kung naniniwala kayo sa kabila, pati na siguro si [retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio] Carpio, I would say you’re stupid,” he said in a taped speech in reference to the former justice who has been fiercely advocating for defense of Philippine sovereignty in the South China Sea.
(That was a campaign period and that joke, we call it bravado. My bravado was a pure campaign joke, and if the other side believes that, maybe even Carpio did, I would say you're stupid.)
— Report from Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News